If you're sore after massage therapy, you are not alone. While it might have a reputation for being the most relaxing way to unwind and get rid of stress, a good massage can leave you feeling sore and a little worried. When your massage is over, you feel wonderful. You feel relaxed, rejuvenated and your body feels probably better than it has in a long time.
That's the point of a great massage: to help you relax and feel better. Your aches and pains are gone, your joints and muscles are relaxed and you're left feeling good. However, the day after a great massage might feel a lot like the day after a great workout. Your body is sore, and you might feel a little achy all over.
Do not panic if you wake up the day after a massage feeling sore and achy. Waking up sore after massage therapy is not uncommon. It's your body's way of telling you that you're doing alright. Massage is a great way to exercise your muscles, and it's a great way to become sore. It won't last forever, but it might shock you if you've never been sore. It is easy to worry when you feel sore the day after a massage, but it's not the medical emergency you might think it is.
A Little Background on Massages
Before discussing being sore after massage therapy, understanding the purpose and the background of massage therapy is helpful. Massage is more than just a service you book at the spa when you relax for the day. True, it is a great way to spend some time at the spa with your facials, manicures and pedicures, but it's also a health tool for many people. You can get a massage at the spa, at the chiropractor and even at the doctor.
Massage Therapy for Health Reasons
Massage therapy is often used to treat health issues---with or without other methods of treatment. Many people use massage therapy to help with the following:
- Pain management
- Sore muscles
- Joint pain
- Stress relief
- Relief from anxiety and depression
- Rehabilitation for sports injuries
These are some of the most common reasons people use massage. Some people use it to help their babies release gas and relieve their fussy behavior. Some people use it to relax. Some use it to help with their health issues and to manage pain. Others use it to help with the pain they experience from conditions that affect their spine. No two people use massage therapy for the same reason on the same body part. It's a highly personal choice, but it's a helpful medical tool for many people.
Massage therapy is complex in terms of type. There are many types of massages that range from a relaxation massage to a hot stone massage to a sports massage to a prenatal massage designed specifically for women expecting a baby. Every type of massage uses different techniques to help you relieve pain and stress in certain parts of your body. There are deep tissue massages, those that require very little pressure and those that require a lot more pressure. Every massage has its own techniques, and every person is able to ask for modifications during the process.
What Does Massage Therapy Do?
Massage therapy does whatever you want. You tell your massage therapist what you need help with, what hurts and what concerns you, and they make sure that you are massaged using the technique that's designed for your issues. For example, if you have chronic low back pain, you will tell your therapist what you suffer from, and he or she will offer you a massage that eases that pain. If you are pregnant, your massage therapist will help you with that kind of pain. If you're suffering from muscle pain, your massage therapist can help with that.
Why You Get Sore after Massage Therapy
Becoming sore after massage therapy is a concern, but it's not a problem. While not everyone is sore following a massage, it's not uncommon. There are a few reasons why you might feel sore after massage therapy, and there are a few ways you can help prevent that soreness if you plan on getting another one in the near future.
Massage Therapy Is Similar to a Hard Workout
Whether you hit the gym regularly or not, you might feel very sore when you have a massage. A good massage works like a great workout in terms of working your body and your muscles. Your massage therapist puts a good working on your muscles, and they might suffer a bit from that the following day. If you feel sore after a good massage like you've worked out hardcore, it's a sign your therapist gave you a great massage.
Your Muscles May Tear
Another common reasons you feel sore after massage therapy is because your massage caused micro tears in the knots in your muscles. This might sound shocking, but it's not as serious as you think. When your muscles become sore and they knot, they don't work efficiently.
The lack of smoothness in the muscles causes other parts of your body to work harder to pump the blood through your body, and your massage therapist tries to work those knots out. This leaves muscles kinked and a little stretched, and they may tear a bit. It's not something that will hurt forever nor is it a long-term health issue.
If you are dehydrated during your massage, your muscles are not pliable. This means they hurt more the following day because they didn't move around as much as they naturally should during massage therapy. If you're dehydrated, it's important to remember that you're causing other health problems as well. Many of those problems are unrelated to massage, and they can cause very serious health issues if you allow it to happen.
How to Prevent Soreness
If you're worried about becoming sore after massage therapy, you should know that there are a few things you can do to prevent soreness. These are things you can do the day of to ensure that your body feels good and strong the following day.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your massage therapist will tell you this when you are finished with your massage. Do not ignore this advice. You cannot afford to allow your body to become dehydrated; you must keep your muscles pliable. Additionally, there are some medical professionals who believe that drinking water after your massage can help you flush out the toxins your body releases during your massage. This helps you feel better, and it helps you prevent some feeling of soreness that you might experience otherwise.
Stretch Your Muscles
Before you go to bed on the night of your massage, do some gentle stretches. Some simple yoga poses and some basic stretches can help you relieve some pain from the massage. Make sure you're able to focus on the muscles that typically hurt the most or that your massage therapist focused on more than others. Those are usually often the muscles that ache the most the day after a massage.
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It is helpful to keep Epsom salts on hand so that you can take a salt bath the night of your massage. All it takes is a half a cup to a full cup of salt and a half hour in a warm bath to help you relieve the pain you feel in your muscles. This salt contains magnesium which is absorbed into your skin when you take a bath soaking in them. This is a powerful tool for good health.
If you live a healthier lifestyle, you can avoid some major pain people feel after massage. Generally, the healthier your body is prior to a massage, the healthier it feels after one. If you are someone who sleeps well, eats well and avoids using drugs and/or alcohol, you can experience a more pleasant feeling after your massage. By living a healthy life, you keep your body feeling stronger and better on a regular basis and not just after your massage.
If you're sore after massage therapy, you don't need to worry. If your pain doesn't go away after a day or two or it gets worse or comes with any other symptoms, you might want to call your doctor to schedule an appointment. While not everyone suffers after a massage, there are some people who suffer more than others.
There is some belief that the number of toxins released during massage therapy can cause you to feel ill to the point that you mistakenly believe you are suffering from the flu. This is something that happens to some people, but most people are able to experience a great massage without many side effects.
Your muscles are getting a good workout during your massage, and it's normal for them to feel sore after that. Don't panic, and remember that there ways to minimize or even prevent your muscles from becoming sore after massage therapy.